30 Days to Understanding the Bible Session 9

Faith Church May 1, 2004 Acts 1:8

Overview: chapter 17 & 18 in your books

 

1) You are a witness for Jesus Christ.

It is interesting the way our Lord phrased this verse.  not "I'd like you to be..." or "it would be nice if you would consider being.." but "you shall be"

I guess a person can look at that negatively or positively, but the bottom line is that the people who heard these words that day took this as a great privilege and serious responsibility from their risen Savior.

I say that because, look what happens in the rest of the book.

In Acts 11:26, Luke reports that the people of Antioch disdainfully begin referring to these people as "Christians" (followers of Christ.)

They were doing what their Savior had said—and people were noticing--and many were coming to Christ.

In Acts 17:6, Luke reports that men from city complained that these believers were "turning the world upside down" with their doctrine.

Point is - the Lord told these early disciples to be witnesses for, and these good disciples took that commission seriously.

I think we need to ask ourselves:  "How seriously are we taking this commission?"

 not "Am I a witness?" (Because this passage says you will be one) -- but "What kind of a witness am a for my Savior?"

See, are you talking to others about the Lord Jesus Christ?

Are you praying regularly for folks who are unsaved?

Do you use this as one of your "measuring sticks" to determine how things are going?

See, when we think about the book of Acts, we ought to think about the tremendous ministry given to the disciples  of Jesus Christ, and that ministry was effective IN PART because of faithful disciples who took that commission  seriously.

 

2) That witness begins at home.

It's very important for us to notice that the first  part of this verse and the first 7 chapters of the book  deal with what the disciples did in their own city.

They tried to win men and women for Christ right there in Jerusalem.

In chapter 2, Luke tells the thrilling story of the birth of the church on the day of Pentecost,

But the point is - they didn't view missions as   something "some other person did in some other   place"

Some of us would do well to take to hearts the words of the children's song "Be A Missionary Everyday"

A good question to ask this morning would be - "How are things in your Jerusalem?"

How are things in the setting God has placed you?

I think every person ought to look for specific ways to minister in the specific settings in which God has placed you.

What is unique about your job, co-workers, neighborhood, family, contacts at school--and how can you minister in that environment?

 

3) A strong witness at home leads to an effective ministry in other places.

What we're arguing against here is the view that missions is something that takes place on the other side of the world.

But look what happened "on the other side of the world"  after the disciples had been faithful at home.

The best thing we can do for the Hornbrooks in Mexico   city, the Blackwells in South Africa, the Stillwells in  Peru, and the rest of our missionary family--is to    build a strong base here at home.

The more we can win, baptize, and disciple

The more we will grow ourselves and in our families, the more we grow spiritually as a church - the better we will be prepared to have a worldwide impact for Christ through our  missionary family.

 

Now, let’s look at the specific way our book outline the sections of Acts

 

 

I.  The Church Era (Acts 1-12)

 

INPUT:  Read out loud pp. 127-128.  What impacts you from our author’s words?

 

The church is made up of imperfect people, however, it is the plan and program that God is using to accomplish his purposes today. 

 

And speaking of imperfect people, who was presiding over the founding of the church (Peter—explain the accounts of Peter’s imperfections)

 

Even though Peter had imperfections God used Him. . . (Story line)  Peter, shortly after the ascension of Jesus, is used by God to establish the Church, God’s next major plan for man.

 

A.  Creation :  Birth of the Church

(Explain or take time to read through Acts 1 & 2, explaining the significant events as you go along)

 

B.  Growth :  Organization of the Church (Acts 6)

(Read Acts 6:1-7 and explain)

(Bring out the following point:  Notice Christ’s words and the fulfillment)

 

Acts 1:8”   but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem. . .”

Acts 6:7” And the word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.”

 

C.  Persecution:  The first Christian Martyr (Acts 7)

[Read Acts 6:8-15 and Acts 7:51-8:8]

INPUT:  Why do you think God allowed them to be persecuted?

God probably wanted to “push” them out of just Jerusalem and scatter them to fulfill his goal of spreading good news to the Gentiles not just the Jews.  And, because of God scattering them, again we see Christ’s predictions coming true. . . Compare Acts 1:8, with Acts 9:31

 

Acts 1:8 but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

 

Acts 9:31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and, going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.

D.  Transition:  A missionary to the Gentiles

(Read about Paul’s conversion and his purpose in Acts 9:1-18)

(Read Eph 2:11- 3:13  preaching to the Gentiles )

 

INPUT:  How ought we respond to God in light of knowing that we are the “Gentiles”?

Now, let’s see how he brought the message to the Gentiles

 

II.  The Missions Era (Acts 13-28

 

Story Line summary:  Paul expands the Church into the Roman Empire during the next two decades.

 

A.  First Missionary Journey (Show Transparency)

(May want to peruse Acts 13-14)

In Paul’s first missionary journey, he and Barnabas are selected by the Holy Spirit to Travel to Galatia and take the gospel to Gentiles living there.

They depart from Antioch, the point of departure for all three missionary journeys, and are in Galatia for two years, experiencing encouraging results.

After they return to Jerusalem, a council is held amid much controversy, which determines that the Gentiles do not have to become Jewish in addition to becoming Christians.

 

B.  Second Missionary Journey

Paul leaves from Antioch to visit the believers from his first journey.

 However, he receives a visioni of a man in Macedonia (Greece) and changes his plans, going to Greece with the gospel message for the Gentiles there.

 He travels in Greece for three years.

 

D.  Third Missionary Journey

Again, Paul leaves to encourage the believers from his first two trips and to spread the message of the gospel into Asia.

He has  great success and great opposition.

In Ephesus, the whole city breaks out in riot over his visit.

Though Paul is warned that he will be imprisoned upon his return to Jerusalem, he returns anyway after being in Asia for four years, and is immediately arrested

 

E.  Trials and Imprisonment

Jewish leaders in Jerusalem have Paul arrested on false charges.  Since his life is threatened there, even under guard, he is moved to Caesarea, the Roman capital in the area.

 There, he is tried under three men:  Felix, Festus, and Agrippa.  In order to thwart a miscarriage of justice in the process, Paul exercises his right as a Roman citizen to take his case before Caesar in Rome.

He is taken to Rome, but his case never comes to trial.  After being in a Roman prison for two years, it is said he was beheaded (the established means of execution for a Roman citizen.

Now, it is very interesting that Paul always wanted to go to Rome and he had made plans often to but those plans never materialized (Romans 1:13)

Now, God does allow him to go, but he goes to Rome as a prisoner!

 

(read Acts 28:30-- And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters, and was welcoming all who came to him,  Phil 1:12-14 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel,13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else,14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.

 

INPUT:  What can we learn from how God got Paul to Rome?

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